The Kiwanis Club of Trenton teamed up with V.A.S.T. Center, I.N.C., and its “Keep Trenton a Star” program to help plant floral stars along the D&R Canal, which symbolize the original colonies and form the beginnings of an interpretive history walk along the Canal.

The event started at 10 a.m. this past Saturday and was led by Mike McCormick, a member of the Kiwanis Club, as he introduced the Trenton Central High School R.O.T.C. Color Guard to present the colors. 

“We replaced the flag usually twice a year. And so, we thought this would be a very appropriate weekend right before Veterans Day…and to do that and to honor our veterans and all those who served in the process,” McCormick said. 

The program continues the Kiwanis commitment to help maintain the Battle Monument, site of Washington’s pivotal victory over the British in December 1776. Trenton Kiwanis periodically replaces the giant U.S. flag which flies next to the Monument. Club members also gather several times a year to clean the surrounding park.

At the service, Adam E. Cruz, City of Trenton Business Administrator and Acting Mayor, said a few quick words to the crowd before the flag raising. “If it weren’t for the sacrifice of the men and women, we would not be here today, and for that, I am grateful. Thank you all, all of you, who have served in our need for our nation, and may God bless you all.”

Members of the Rough Riders plant flowers in the Ground after the Flag Raising Ceremony, Photo: Drew Mumich

The ceremony featured a performance by the Catholic Community Choir and participation by local Boy Scouts, clergy, and civic leaders. Guests were invited to go down to the Canal afterward and help VAST plant flowers on the edge of the Canal.

VAST has created historic landscaped stars along D&R Canal State Park known as a “Commemoration of U.S.A. Star Adoption.” Since 2017, VAST’s “Keep Trenton a Star” program has used hot, cold-tolerant flowers transplanted the Saturday before every Veterans’ Day and Flag Day to create the stars on the area of the canal park adjacent to the Trenton Battle Monument. 

“This then became a perfect spot to have a flagship location, commemorating the history and trying to start the process… It’s not giving back. It’s making the community,” Charles Waaben, a member of the VAST Center, said. 

Alongside VAST there were community organizations, one of which included Mercer County Rough Riders, a motorcycle group that volunteers their time within Trenton and Mercer County as a whole. 

Chris Seldon, a member of The Rough Riders, helped volunteer his time to plant the flowers. “…I think this shows a lot of people care about how Trenton is and people want to live in Trenton and want to try and clean it also.”